Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fascinating female portraits in Indian miniature

India’s leading online auction house, Saffronart, will be hosting an auction of Indian miniature paintings. Among the works on offer are some fascinating female portraits – from a princess to a humble Yogini. For example, an opaque watercolor work heightened skillfully with gold on paper shows the latter meditating outside of her hut. Another watercolor depicts composite horse with a female rider. ‘A Lady Drinking’ is another magnificent miniature being presented.   

Yogini in Meditation
The female worshipper loosely holds a rosary in her fingers while a yogapatta, a band passing around her knees and waist, holds her posture. To her left, an emaciated dog, often found in images of yogis and siddhas, keeps her company. This composition follows the Murshidabad convention where the main image is placed in the middle juxtaposed with the natural background. Murshidabad at one point of time was the centre of Muslim government for Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. A school for provincial Mughal painting was established there. It flourished until the end of the eighteenth century before European patronage began to influence the artists, hailing the arrival of the Company School style.
Composite Horse with a Female Rider
The work suggests how composite animals’ representations were popular during King Akbar's reign. It’s a representation of a composite horse within a Murshidabad background. Various animal, birds, fish and human figures compose the horse. It is not clear what the meaning of composite animals is, but it seems they could have represented earth spirits perhaps of Sufi inspiration.
A Lady Drinking
This opaque watercolor on paper is one of the best examples of Southern Rajasthani painting showing European influences in their style. This miniature painting is based on the European emblematic image of mother and child. Here the artist has used his imagination to replace the child with a bottle of wine.
A Portrait of a Princess    
In this miniature, a princess is represented in the Deccani style. Following Deccani traditions, the figure is tall and slender with an elongated face and she is adorned with beautiful jewels. In their portraits, Deccani artists moved away from Mughal realism to almost idealized figures. The adorned borders around the image tell us that this illustration was once part of a larger album of miniature paintings.
The auction of Indian Miniature Paintings will take place online starting April 24, 2013.

(Information courtesy: Saffronart)

No comments:

Post a Comment